Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
JACKSONVILLE +8½ over Chicago
1:00 PM EST. The Bears are still in this thing and need to catch the Cardinals. The Bears (7-7) are one half game behind the Red Birds (8-7) for the third and final wild card spot. The Bears have already clinched the tiebreaker over Arizona based on either conference record or record versus common opponents. So the Bears need to make up at least one game on the Cardinals over the final two weekends. Chicago will host the Packers next week while Arizona lost to the 49ers on Saturday night and will visit the Rams in Week 17.
Believe it or not, this is probably one of the better bets on the board this week. If we’re sticking to our buy-low/sell high philosophy, this one sticks out. You see, the Bears offense took a big step up in recent weeks, scoring over 30 points in each of the last three weeks. That was after not being able to move five yards for 13 weeks. This market will now trust the Bears offense to put up points after being very reluctant to trust them prior. The Bears just beat Minnesota 33-27 after frog-stomping the Texans, 36-7 the week prior. You can also now factor in that the Bears REALLY “have something to play for” after the Cards went down to the 49ers.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville just lost 40-14 to the Ravens. The week prior, the Jagwires lost to Tennessee, 31-10. That’s a combined 71-24 over the past two weeks and the market does not like that. It also does not like that the Jags have dropped 13 in a row. We, on the other hand, love everything about the Jags losing streak combined with them getting boat raced in back-to-back weeks.
Last week’s 40-14 loss to the Ravens was perhaps the most misleading score of the day. The boxscore will officially show you one turnover by the Jags but that one turnover was inside the Ravens five-yard line. Furthermore, the Jags were also stopped not once, but twice on fourth down inside the Ravens 10-yard line, which is two more tunrovers that do not show up in the box score. The final score looks bad but the performance was not. Gardiner Minshew completed 22 of 29 passes and if there is one thing that is absolute is that Minshew has nothing but fire in his belly. He leads and inspires his teammates to give their absolute best and nothing would be more pleasing than to knock a team out of the playoffs.
The Jags have been damn competitive most weeks, with a two-point loss to the Brownies, a three-point loss to Minnesota, a four-point loss to the Pack, a three-point loss to the Titans and another two-point loss to the Texans. Those all could have been wins and then we would be discussing a 7-7 team and probably taking back 2-points this week. We once again cannot overemphasize how results and records influence the line to high degree. The market sees 1-13 and not damn close to being 7-7, thus creating this massive overlay that we must try and take advantage of.
UPDATE: When we wrote this song, Gardiner Minshew was listed as the starting QB. On Friday or Saturday, the Jaguars announced that Mike Glennon would start, thus tipping us off that this is a tank job. However, said tank job is being orchestated by management and not the players. Is this not the same game as yesterday's Cardinals/49ers game, where one team had everyrthing to gain and the other had nothing and was starting a third string QB?
A few days ago, the Bears and their idiot coach figured that making the playoffs was a pipe dream. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Bears control their own fate. What does that mean? It means that suddenly, a non-pressure situation turns into a high-pressure situation. It means that both Trubinsky and Nagy will not be living a carefree life. It means the Bears will go back to being the team that cannot handle prosperity and will turn back into the conservative, untrustworthy team that we saw for the first 13 weeks of the season. Glennon starting over Minshew also means the price gets inflated just a little bit more.
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JACKSONVILLE +8½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)